UPDATE: Illinois State Senate Passes Emergency Funding Bill to Save Home Care Program that Serves Seniors!

Thousands of members came to Springfield to make our voices heard and speak out against budget cuts.

Thousands of members came to Springfield to make our voices heard and speak out against budget cuts.

Victory!  Emergency Funding Bill for Community Care Program Now Moves to Gov. Quinn for Signature

CONTACT: Scott Vogel, scott.vogel@seiuhcil.org

(April 25, 2013, Springfield, IL) – After several months of intense grassroots activism and lobbying, letter writing and phone calls by seniors, home care workers, and community allies, the Illinois State Senate passed emergency funding today to save the Community Care Program (CCP) in the Department of Aging (DOA). The House of Representatives first passed its supplemental funding bill on April 19th. The home care funding bill now moves to Governor Quinn’s desk who is expected to promptly sign it.

The Community Care Program provides home care assistance to over 85,000 Illinois seniors and allows them to live independently in their own homes without being placed into nursing home facilities. The Community Care Program also employs 30,000 low-wage home care workers.

On March 8, the Department of Aging sent a letter to home care service providers that the DOA would completely run out of money by March 15, 2013 and therefore, unable to process payments for services in the CCP program. The news prompted seniors and home care workers to immediately mobilize and organize to save the CCP home care program from financial collapse. The grassroots groundswell culminated in today’s announcement.

In response, SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher released the following statement:

“We thank the Illinois State Senate for promptly taking up the House’s emergency funding bill and passing it without delay to save the Community Care Program.

“Home care assistance for seniors is critically important – it is the difference between seniors being forced into nursing homes facilities and living independently with a sense of privacy, decency, and dignity.

“Today’s vote mattered greatly not only for the seniors who currently receive home care assistance but for future recipients who will one day rely on this critical program.

“We are so proud of the seniors and home care workers who quickly mobilized to protect their love ones, neighbors, friends, coworkers, and caregivers. It was a sight to behold watching so many people travel to Springfield to lobby their state lawmakers, organize rallies and events all over the state, and to call their elected officials to take immediate action.

“This is how our union defines ‘community’ – people who come together, in unity, to protect and look after each other. And that’s exactly what this fight was about – protecting our seniors.

“Illinois will continue to face burgeoning budget pressures as more and more seniors and baby-boomers retire and the demand for health and home care services only grows. That’s why it is critically important that state lawmakers fully fund home care assistance to keep seniors living in their own homes, which will save the state millions of dollars annually and up to three to four times the cost of nursing home care.

“Today we applaud our state lawmakers for doing what’s right by giving Illinois’ seniors peace of mind by protecting and funding the Community Care Program.”

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Home Care Workers and Seniors Mobilized to Save Illinois’ “Community Care Program” in the Department of Aging

Home_care_rally_CCP_emergency_funding_passes_House_04_18_13FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2013

CONTACT:
Scott Vogel, scott.vogel@seiuhcil.org
Mike Truppa, mike.truppa@seiuhcil.org

(SPRINGFIELD, IL) – After several months of intense grassroots activism, lobbying, letter writing and phone calls by seniors, home care workers, and community allies, the Illinois House of Representatives finally passed a $173 million emergency funding bill today to save the Community Care Program (CCP) in the Department of Aging. The House passed the emergency funding bill by a staggering 115-2 vote.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois especially acknowledged the tremendous leadership from State Representatives Sara Feigenholtz (12th-District), Greg Harris (13th-District), and Patricia Bellock (47th-District).

The emergency funding bill, HB207, now moves to the state senate where advocates are calling for its immediate passage.

In response, SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher released the following statement:

“We applaud the Illinois House of Representatives for passing emergency funding today to save our Community Care Program which serves seniors.

“Our state representatives recognized the importance of home care assistance that our workers provide to 85,000 seniors in Illinois every single day.

“Today’s vote is a tribute to the thousands of seniors, home care workers and community allies who quickly mobilized to save the Community Care Program before it financially collapsed.

“The passage of this emergency funding bill is a testament to our community’s ability to pull together to fight for what’s right and to channel our energy to protect vital services for those who most need them.

“Seniors and families decided they would not allow our vital home care program to be slashed simply because of the state’s broken budget system, nor due to political gridlock in Springfield.

“We stood together and we won. We call on state lawmakers to take notice and work to strengthen and fully fund Illinois’ home care programs to support and empower our state’s seniors, adults with disabilities and low-wage workers.”

Homecare_post_CCP_Emergency_fundng_passes_house_04_18_13Background
The Community Care Program provides home care assistance to over 85,000 Illinois seniors and allows them to live independently in their own homes without being placed into nursing home facilities. The Community Care Program also employs 30,000 low-wage home care workers.

On March 8, the Department of Aging sent a letter to home care service providers that the DOA would completely run out of money by March 15, 2013 and therefore, unable to process payments for services in the CCP program. The news prompted seniors and home care workers to immediately mobilize and organize to save the CCP home care program from financial collapse.

The $173 million cost of the emergency supplement equals approximately 0.5 percent of the state’s total budget. The Community Care Program is one of the best investments Illinois can make in the lives of seniors. The CCP program saves the state millions of dollars every year by dramatically reducing nursing home costs and gives seniors the ability to live independently with dignity, respect and privacy.

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